Concrete Floor Maintenance

Interior Decorative Concrete Floor Maintenance

Decorative Concrete Maintenance Guide:


Decorative concrete flooring, including acid-stained concrete, and  stained concrete overlays, are easy to maintain and will last  indefinitely, if you follow several basic principles:

  • Dust mop or broom sweep daily to prevent dirt accumulation
  • Damp mop daily to remove smudging, scuffs, and water marks, and restore gloss
  • Re-coat with new floor finish (wax) as recommended to rebuild loss from cleaning and abrasion
  • Exercise caution, and take precautions, before placing stationary materials or objects on your floor
  • Maintain clean mats at exterior entrances

Dust Mopping:

This  is the most important step to preserving your decorative concrete  floor. Dust mopping regularly will prevent sand and dirt from building  up on the surface of the floor, abrading the floor finish, and wearing  through the concrete sealer, and concrete stain, below. Dust mopping  also removes an estimated 80-90% of indoor dust that serves as air  pollutants, health hazards, and sources of allergies.  Any light duty  sweeping, or vacuuming tool is fine, but we find an 18” to 36”  microfiber dust mop works best. The static electricity created by this  flat, broad-surfaced material picks up small debris and contaminants  like a magnet. But make sure that your dust mop has not been treated  with any oils, silicone's, or cleaners by the manufacturer, and shake it  out periodically so as not to scratch the floor.

Damp Mopping:

Cleaning  a decorative concrete floor promptly when the floor finish has become  dirty, marred, or lost its luster is essential to maintain your floor  but when dust mopping no longer helps, damp mopping will restore the  initial gloss and preserve the integrity of the remaining floor finish.  You should use a pH neutral cleaner, diluted in cool water, according  the manufacturer’s instructions. Most neutral cleaning products do not  require rinsing except when re-coating with new floor finish because  they do not contain strong acidic or alkaline additives. When mopping,  be sure to keep the cleaning solution from getting too dirty, and do not  allow the cleaner to puddle. You may want to use separate buckets for  the cleaning solution, and to periodically rinse the mop.  Also, do not  use Swiffer Wet-Jets, bleach, ammonia, Pine Sol, or any harsh  detergents. They will break down and discolor the existing floor finish,  and maybe the concrete sealer as well, which could then require  stripping and re-application.  The ideal mop to use for damp mopping is a  "loop end wet mop" made of a cotton/rayon blend or microfiber.  Loop  end mops are absorbent, re-usable, contact the floor surface  continuously, and don't leave lint or fiber behind.  Microfiber flat  mops also work well.  Tough marks that do not come up with a mop can be  removed with fine steel wool or a light scouring pad. It is important to  ring your mop of choice out before applying your cleaner to the floor.  The floor doesn’t require an abundance of moisture to be cleaned  thoroughly.

Your floor was installed with certified Brickform  products. IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO USE ANY OTHER CLEANING CHEMICALS OR  WAXES ON YOUR FLOOR EXCEPT CERTIFIED BRICKFORM PRODUCTS. Doing so may  cause a reaction that could damage your floor.

Re-coating with Wax:

A  certain amount of abrasion and scratching from foot traffic, playing  children, pets, heavy stationary objects, and carts or dollies, cannot  be avoided and will eventually erode the existing floor finish on a  decorative concrete floor. This finish needs to be restored periodically  so that the concrete sealer, and concrete stain below, is not affected.  How often to re-coat depends on the building environment. In homes,  once a year is a good rule of thumb; for businesses, it should be more  often:  probably every 4 to 6 months. Waxing is normally necessary for  epoxy clear coats as stated above. However stronger coating systems such  as UreMax and PolyAstic do not require waxing as they are 20x stronger  than epoxy.

Furniture and Other Objects:

The  sealer and floor finish on your acid stained concrete floor, or stained  concrete overlay, is a form of plastic. Most plastics tend to bond  together, so you should avoid placing on your floor anything with a  plastic or acrylic bottom, such as air mattresses, painter’s tarps,  planters, furniture coasters, and certain types of matting.  Otherwise,  when these objects are moved, they may take the sealer and color right  off of the floor. If you do keep such objects on the floor, make sure to  use a fabric in-between, or attach felt-bottomed pads.  Products made  with cheap or poor-quality rubber will also stick to stained concrete  flooring and can leave yellow or brown staining.  Quality rubber (e.g.,  based on nitrile) are generally okay, but they should be tested before  leaving them in place permanently.

A special note regarding  furniture:  The concrete sealers and finishes used for stained concrete  flooring are extremely durable - but the hard bottoms, and constant  movement, of tables and chairs in a restaurant, office building, dining  room, or entertainment area, will eventually scratch or wear through  them, if preventive measures are not taken. In such high activity areas,  we highly recommend attaching special pads to the legs of all  furniture, and heavy stationary objects. This is a quick and inexpensive  way to extend the life of your floor and reduce your maintenance costs  drastically.

Also, be very careful of runoff water from plants,  which often contains tannin's, lignin, fertilizer or plant food. Over  time, these trace chemicals will discolor and permanently stain your  sealer.

Finally, NEVER EVER apply tape of any kind, for however  short a period of time, to a stained concrete floor!!!  The tape will  pull up the concrete sealer, and concrete stain coloring, when removed.  Painters should know better, but they do this all the time. This type of  damage is not covered under a stained concrete floor warranty, so you  should warn painters beforehand, and/or recover repair damages from  them, so you are able pay to have it fixed.

Mats:

Mats  are imperative for a stained concrete floor with an exterior entrance.   Dirt, moisture, and outdoor contaminants, such as deicers, anti-freeze,  fertilizer, and oil, pose an ongoing, significant threat of damage or  staining to a decorative concrete floor, no matter how durable the  sealer.  Mats should be used both inside and outside exterior  entrances.  A good matting system will reduce dirt accumulation on your  floor by 85% or more and is an easy way to simplify and reduce the  maintenance required on your floor.
The best mats to use outside are  those made of rope, hemp, or other heavy absorbent fabric that has a  high friction open surface designed to knock grit particles off shoes  and trap them.  Inside, more densely fabricated mats, such as soft, shag  carpets are then effective in removing any remaining dirt and moisture  on footwear. Whatever mat you choose, it should have a solid backing so  that it is easy to shake out. This backing should be of a good quality  rubber or vinyl, so that the mat does not stick to the floor or stain  it. Rubber mats can be cleaned in a washer and dryer.  Vinyl mats need  to be hosed off and allowed to air dry. For high traffic entryways, a  good rule of thumb is to use at least 15 feet of matting. This allows  each foot of your visitors, guests, or customers to touch the matting at  least 3 times, and is proven to be most effective in removing the  majority of incoming dirt and moisture.

Clear Epoxy Concrete Floor
Clear Epoxy Concrete Floor

Exterior Decorative Concrete Floor Maintenance

 

Like conventional concrete, stamped surfaces will provide decades of  service when properly installed and maintained, even when exposed to  harsh winter weather conditions. Color hardeners that are often used in  the stamping process provide additional benefit by making the surface  stronger and more resistant to abrasion and water penetration. Most  contractors also apply several coats of protective sealer to block the  penetration of dirt, chemicals, oil, grease, and other substances.  Sealers also make the concrete easier to clean and prevent color fading  from UV exposure.

Even properly sealed stamped concrete will  require some routine maintenance depending on exposure conditions and  the type and amount of traffic it receives. Here are tips for cleaning  and treating your stamped concrete to preserve its beauty and extend its  service life:

  • Sweep and wash the surface occasionally to  avoid dirt buildup using a garden hose or pressure washer, push broom  and a mild detergent.
  • Reseal every 2 to 3 years.
  • If a stamped surface begins to dull or lose its sheen after time, re-coating with sealer will usually restore the luster.
  • Avoid  using deicing salts on outdoor surfaces, especially during the first  winter after the pavement is installed. Sealers for decorative concrete  often fail in areas where deicing salts are applied or that receive  drip-off from parked cars. The damage isn’t caused directly by the salts  themselves, but by the freeze/thaw cycles that the salts cause.
  • Although  sealers will inhibit stains, it’s still a good idea to remove spills,  oil, grease, or other possibly damaging substances immediately.

Flagstone Concrete Overlay
Flagstone Concrete Overlay

Interior Shop Floor Maintenance

 

Tips for Concrete Floor Maintenance:

  • Wet  wash the concrete periodically. During a wet wash of the concrete floor,  ensure you use the clean mops and clean water. In commercial buildings,  automatic floor scrubbers are used to clean the concrete floors. Bucket  cleaning is preferred way in residential buildings. Pressure Washing  and removing dirty water with a high-quality squeegee is also  acceptable.
  • If the floor sees heavy  traffic and high amount of dirt, it is recommended to make use of a  neutral floor cleaner in wet mopping the concrete floor. Using plain  water may not always be sufficient to remove all dust particles from the  floor. Neutral floor cleaner is created to suspend the dust and debris  easily.
  • Wash the stains and spills as  soon as you notice it, so they can’t be absorbed by the concrete surface  and decay or stain your floor. There are no completely chemical proof  floors. If oils and other chemicals are allowed to sit on the floor for  an extended amount of time, staining and damage can occur.
  • When  you apply a cleaner on a concrete surface, give it sufficient time to  lift all the dust and debris from the floor. This is very crucial when  the floor contains sticky and hard-to-remove particles like grease. 
  • There  is nothing wrong in being systematic. It becomes more essential when  the cleaning is required for large areas of concrete floor, often the  case in commercial properties. You can start mopping on one area and  then gradually move to the next in a proper sequence. With this  approach, one can ensure they don’t miss a single place on the floor in  the cleaning process.
  •  Don’t let the  cleaning agent become dry, or it may increase your efforts to clean the  floor. As said earlier, you can go systematic way. Divide the entire  floor into small areas and clean the solution from the first area before  you move on the next.

Sealed Concrete in a Farm Shop
Sealed Concrete in a Farm Shop

Plain Finish Exterior Concrete Maintenance

 

Tips for exterior concrete maintenance:

  • Pressure wash as needed. A surface cleaner attached to a 4 gpm pressure washer is recommended.
  • Use  only pH neutral material as a cleaning solution. Avoid using ammonia,  citrus cleaner, bleaches, pine-based cleaners and vinegar, as they are  not pH neutral materials.
  •  Wash  the stains and spills as soon as you notice it, so they can’t be  absorbed by the concrete surface and decay or stain your floor. There  are no completely chemical proof floors. If oils and other chemicals are  allowed to sit on the floor for an extended amount of time, staining  and damage can occur.
  • Follow specified re-seal periods.

Sealed Concrete Driveway
Sealed Concrete Driveway